When the Austin City Limits festival lineup is released every spring, one of Rocks Off's favorite parlor games besides wondering what sort of Biblical weather-related calamity God will visit on Zilker Park (this year: Locusts!) is speculating which of the festival's major acts will book dates in Houston on their way to or from Austin. We know at least a few of them will; we just don't know who.
Most artists, ACL or not, have only just now begun to make their fall touring plans, and according to Pollstar, all of Houston's major venues are available. That doesn't necessarily mean they are, of course, but Rocks Off does love to play armchair promoter.
We thought we'd rate the chances of a pre- or post-ACL Houston show for the first 20 artists on the festival roster released overnight Monday. For the record, we have no inside information whatsoever - this is all speculation and intuition on our part. That's what makes it fun.
The Eagles Last here: December 2008, Toyota Center Rocks Off says: As one of the very few ACL performers this year that actually gets radio play in Houston (do they ever), the Eagles could play here whenever they want. Rocks Off has a feeling Don Henley and "friends" want to play up their ACL-closing appearance as an event, though, so a better time to look for them might be at the end of next month - the band just added a date June 26 at Dallas' American Airlines Center.
Muse Last here: March 2010, Toyota Center Rocks Off says: By ACL, Muse will have been on the road for a solid year, first opening for U2 and then headlining arenas behind U.S. breakthrough The Resistance. Muse released the final dates of its tour this morning, and heads back to Ohio right after the festival.
Phish Last here: 1998, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Rocks Off says: It's been longer than a Trey Anastasio guitar solo since Phish has been here, but the jamlords' ACL date smells like a one-off to us. At least we think that's what we smell.
The Strokes Last here: March 15, 2006, Verizon Wireless Theater Rocks Off says: Pencil these guys in - there's even a Betty White/SNL-style Web page begging Julian and his towheaded friends to play here. Could have their choice of fellow ACL acts as support, too - most likely LCD Soundsystem, the National and/or Houston virgins Vampire Weekend.
M.I.A. Last here: November 2007, Club V at Verizon Wireless Theater Rocks Off says: M.I.A.'s Club V show was lights-out if lightly attended, but after "Paper Planes" went Top 40 and all the hullabaloo over her new "Born Free" video, that shouldn't be a problem this time. Forecast: Headlining Warehouse Live.
Flaming Lips Last here: 2002, Jones Hall (with Beck) Rocks Off says: Summerfest, anyone?
LCD Soundsystem Last here: 2005, Meridian Rocks Off says: We're thinking it's high time James Murphy broke his five-year Bayou City drought. A Verizon tripleheader with the Strokes and Vampire Weekend would be perfect.
Spoon Last here: April 22, 2009, Warehouse Live Rocks Off says: Yes. Whether or not it's around ACL, we should be seeing Spoon soon.
Vampire Weekend Last here: Never Rocks Off says: See the Strokes.
Norah Jones Last here: May 5, 2010, Verizon Wireless Theater Rocks Off says: Considering she'll also be here for Lilith Fair August 15 - with Court Yard Hounds, who we're kind of shocked aren't playing ACL - three visits in one year from Ms. Jones seems a little much to hope for.
Band of Horses Last here: June 2006, Walter's on Washington Rocks Off says: God, we hope so. Perhaps a double bill at HOB or Warehouse Live with...
Monsters of Folk Last here: Never Rocks Off says: Hey, it could happen. But probably won't.
Deadmau5 Last here: November 8, 2009, House of Blues Rocks Off says: DJs never sleep, so it's possible the Canadian progressive-house sensation could put another HOB crowd into a trance like he did last year. And you know he'll be at one ACL aftershow or another, if not several.
Sonic Youth Last here: June 22, 2006, Warehouse Live Rocks Off says: We're a little surprised Thurston Moore and family haven't been here in nearly four years, but only a little. We also have a hunch they won't pass us over much longer - we can see the NYC noise legends either headlining House of Blues or even an old-school return to Numbers with a couple of ACL acts further down the bill such as Beach House and Local Natives.
Gogol Bordello Last here: March 18, 2008, Meridian Rocks Off says: Houstonians do love them some Gogol Bordello, and we could have sworn Eugene Hutz and his punk-rock gypsies had been here since then. Past due and probable.
The National Last here: Rice University, November 2008 Rocks Off says: We almost forgot about the mope-rockers' outdoor show at Rice. But it wouldn't surprise us if the High Violet boys showed up at HOB or Warehouse around either ACL or Voodoo Fest.
Robert Earl Keen Last here: December 28, 2009, House of Blues Rocks Off says: Keen will be back to say "Merry Christmas From the Family" at right about the same time this year. Set your watch by it, and please - shut the fuck up this time.
The Black Keys Last here: Meridian, September 30, 2008 Rocks Off says: Opening for Kings of Leon at Cynthia Woods September 22. Missed it by that much.
Slightly Stoopid Last here: April 22, 2010, Warehouse Live Rocks Off says: Unless the band and/or their booking agent smokes so much weed they forget they were just here, we don't see it happening.
Yeasayer Last here: April 9, 2010, House of Blues Rocks Off says: April's sold-out crowd was a good sign there's a market for Yeasayer's robotic dance grooves, but this soon? Doubtful.